Oct 04, 2016 by Rita Schaller
I once heard someone compare faith to coffee. She said for some it is like instant coffee – you have a miraculous experience or attend a revival and you suddenly accept Christ as your Savior. Some would call it a “born again experience”. For others faith is like a slow-brewed cup of joe; it grows over a long period of time. I guess I’d describe my faith as slow-brewed, hopefully continuing to strengthen until the day the Lord calls me home!
How did my faith begin to grow? I was baptized, attended Sunday School, received confirmation and was an active member in my youth group – all within the Lutheran Church. As my faith journey continued, I attended Lutheran colleges and became a Lutheran teacher for over 40 years! Now that I am retired, I have time to be a Stephen Minister and to serve our Lord in other ways. As I study His Word, my faith continues to “brew”.
In this month of October, as we celebrate the Reformation, I find myself thinking about what it means to be Lutheran. Being Lutheran means:
- We believe the Bible is the true Word of God and the only authority –We can test what the world tells us is true against God’s Word.
- We believe the words found in Ephesians 2:8&9 “ By grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourselves, it is a gift from God, not by works lest anyone should boast.” We can never do enough to earn our salvation, Christ did it all!
- We confess to Apostle’s Creed and other creeds of the Christian church – These clearly state what we believe as Christians especially concerning the Trinity.
- We believe that we receive both bread and wine and Christ’s body and blood when we receive communion – Don’t ask me how that happens but Christ said it, so we believe it.
- We believe in the Great Commission found in Matt. 28:19 “ Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” – Our church supports many missionaries but we are also called to tell others what God has done for them through Jesus!
Being Lutheran means that we have a long history of Christian education. In fact, Luther was a big advocate of educating children and said monasteries should be converted to schools for all children, not just the wealthy – a radical idea back in the 1500s! The first Lutheran school in this country was founded in 1752 at St. Mathew Lutheran Church in Manhattan (where I was baptized), years before we became the U.S.A.!
Being Lutheran means we have a rich heritage of wonderful music but we also embrace contemporary Christian music.
You probably have heard the old joke where St. Peter tells new arrives to heaven to be quiet as they pass a room filled with Lutherans because Lutherans believe they are the only ones there! I certainly don’t believe that Lutherans will be the only Christians in heaven but I am glad to call myself a Lutheran!